Aysegul Tuzun, managing director of Mistco, details the catalog of the distributor for MipCancun, a market that it reaches with the successful The Innocents, rating leader of the current season.
Representing the entire catalog of Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) is defined by Aysegul Tuzun, managing director of Mistco, as a mission. The gigantic content offering of the state broadcaster not only spans multiple genres, with very high levels of production, but each content also functions as a window to Turkey, its people and its culture.
«Our company agreed to represent the TRT catalog as a mission with the aim of expanding the penetration of TRT contents, not only of dramas or titles with great international potential, but also of animations and documentaries, as much as possible, because it is the best way to promote the country and its culture “, explained Tuzun in dialogue with ttvnews ahead of MipCancun 2020.
That commitment has paid off with excellent results around the world for many of the top TRT content, including in Latin America, where traditional dramas and historical dramas have earned their place.
For this complex year, Mistco has presented two novelties of enormous impact on local TV, such as The Innocents (Masumlar Apartmani), Turkey’s leading drama, and Great Seljuks: Guardians of Justice (Uyanış: Büyük Selçuklu), which follows in the footsteps of another powerful TRT historical drama, Resurrection: Ertugrul.
How has The Innocents performed since its premiere on local television?
The Innocents is our new title, the highest rated drama in Turkey right now. Up to the time of this interview, seven episodes have been broadcast in Turkey. Even with such a short period since its launch, we have seen a lot of interest in the series, as it is based on real life stories which makes it easy for people to connect with the characters. It is a huge success in Turkey, the number one drama being broadcast on television today. We are currently working to close deals in key territories and we plan to announce them soon.
What elements of your story make The Innocents resonate so well with audiences?
The series outlines the problems we have in our lives, it is not only a love story. I believe that in every family there are problems generated in the past. The advantage that this series has is that it delineates family problems and all of us have these types of problems in our lives, which generates a simple connection between the characters and the audience.
Great Seljuks: Guardians of Justice continues the tradition of great historical TRT productions. How has the experience of distributing this genre in Latin America been?
TRT has the best know-how to produce historical dramas. They were the first to invest in the genre in Turkey. The genre is different than the other Turkish dramas that we bring to the markets, different from what the audience imagines, because the traditional Turkish drama is a strong love story, but the historical drama is another genre. We started it with Resurrection: Ertugrul and noticed that buyers had their doubts about the genre, but it ended up working fantastically at the international sales level. Resurrection: Ertugrul opened the doors for Turkish historical dramas.
So has the demand for the genre increased?
We see that yes, there is an increase in demand for Turkish historical dramas. We are able to offer different types of drama, not just traditional dramas. We had great results with Resurrection: Ertugrul and we think we will achieve the same with Great Seljuks: The Guardian of Justice.
What can you tell us about the story and how has it worked in Turkey?
The series is an epic adventure, mixed with secrets and obstacles. The plot is about the bravest sultan of the Seljuk Dynasty, Sultan Melikşah. It is the series number in ratings on Monday nights. Like Resurrection: Ertugrul, it offers high-quality production and a great cast with well-known stars such as Bugra Gulsoy from My Little Girl, Ekin Koç from Magnificent Century, Leyla Lydia Tuğutlu from Heart of the City and many others.
How, if at all, was the distributor’s strategy altered during the pandemic?
During the pandemic, especially during the first three months, we saw great interest in our titles from all over the world and the reason for this is that we have a great advantage: a large bookstore of TRT and other Turkish producers. All production stopped at the beginning of the pandemic, but we still had more and more episodes of our series, including some new ones. During this period we invested in Spanish versions of our titles because our goal was to have the dubbing ready as soon as our clients needed it. These versions dubbed in Spanish seek to expand our penetration in Latin America. We are about to obtain the results of that investment.
How has the expansion of the catalog made with the agreement with Pastel Films and Star TV for the drama Golden Cage worked?
We founded our company in 2016 and started as an exclusive TRT sales agent. It was a good start for us, but then we decided to enrich our library with third-party content. This is why we made agreements with Star TV and Pastel Films for the title Golden Cage. It was the first title that we added from a third party and we obtained good results. It’s a shorter title, 51 episodes, has a powerful story, a good cast, and was in high demand during the pandemic. We have sold it to different countries such as Montenegro, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and it will be launched in the MENA region. We also receive interest in Latin America. We believe that it has been a good partnership for all parties and we are talking about enriching our library with other channels.
While it is difficult to anticipate the future, much more in the current context, how is Mistco preparing for the next few months and the beginning of 2021?
We always listen to our partners and try to adapt our strategy for this new world. It is a very general situation and we see that the way of working is changing and we do not know how it will be in the future. We are concerned about what will happen if a second wave reaches Turkey, because the most important thing is that today we are producing new episodes, but we will not know if we can do it in January or February. It is the main concern for all production companies and TV channels around the world. We cannot see the future, but we have to be prepared to adapt.